Article by Marc Andrew

September 22nd 2015 in Sketch App News

Getting my design mojo back with Sketch app. Yeah baby yeah!

My design mojo had been feeling low for quite some time. And I was becoming a little restless in my role as a UI designer. Not a Network style “I‘m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” moment, more of a Rolling Stones “I can’t get no satisfaction….with the current design application i’m using”.*

*They were the original lyrics Mick Jagger wrote.

Now before we go any further, I’m not an iOS designer. I leave that to awesome folk like Meng To and Jean-Marc Denis. I’m plain vanilla, with a cherry on the top UI designer for Desktop, and Mobile devices. That’s my strongest area of expertise, and one that I have no wish to deviate from any time soon. I enjoy getting to my Mac every morning to do that kind of stuff. More so than I ever did. You’ll find out why below…

I started to become a little disillusioned with the software that I was using for my creations

After many years of producing for the web, both in a designer, and developer role, and working through the spectrum of small, to big name clients. I started to become a little disillusioned with the software (Photoshop, in my case) that I was using for my creations. It wasn’t an overnight questioning of my skills, and a feeling that the work I was producing was playing it safe, and becoming a little hum-drum (hey we’re our own worst critics aren’t we?), but a more gradual one over the course of about 6 or 7 months, give or take.

As well as the points mentioned earlier, there were other elements that started chipping away at my design, and development processes. One of those was the speed at which I could produce the next project. Due to the fact that the projects I was working on at that particular time, needed to have a quick turnaround for my cashflow to remain healthy. I was up against it in terms of the quality of the work I could produce in the small window that I had.

I kicked the tyres on various applications out there, including various all-in-one, ‘design, and we’ll spit out the code for you’, applications. I can see the hardcore developers readying their pitchforks, and burning torches with that last sentence.

But none were suited to me. It went against everything I had taught myself over the years. To create your best work, you design in Photoshop, you develop in a code editor (in my case, at that time, Espresso for Mac). That’s the done thing. Hardcore developers you may now lower your pitchforks. Normal service has resumed.

Concentrating on only the important elements you needed to produce something great

The one nugget though I took away from some of these applications was the cleanliness of their UIs, the stripped back appearance that was presented to you, their way of concentrating on only the important elements you needed to produce something great.

Which in turn, via a few Tweets that I stumbled upon shortly after, brought me to Sketch. Huzzah!!

Here was an application that could allow my focus to be brought back to the fore, increase my productivity, and give me a much needed kick up my bezier curved butt.

The focus, the simplicity, the stripping back of the superfluous from the UI

And the thing that switched me onto this application from the Bohemian Coding crew was what I had seen in those products I had come across previously on my travels. The focus, the simplicity, the stripping back of the superfluous from the UI.

Can an application change your creative output? Of course it can. It’s an extension of you when you sit down to design every day. If you’re looking at an application on your screen for 8, 9, 10 hours a day. If that application that’s staring you in the face for a long period of time, inside of that 27″ box (I’m a Thunderbolt guy) makes getting element A, to look like element B a chore, does not provide you with a seamless experience, and makes you have to think more about those aspects, the creative side of your brain is not fully in the game.

It’s a great role to have each working day. Sketch enables this

Now Sketch in all it’s wondrous glory, is not a ‘one size fits all’ app. On many occasions I have seen discussions online about how designers will jump back to Illustrator, Affinity Designer/Photo, or Pixelmator for either creating their detailed vector art, or photo manipulation of some kind. That’s cool. Go do that. The day that Sketch becomes a Swiss pocket knife is the day it will become a clone of what has come before it. And that would suck! The folks at Bohemian Coding are smart people. They know the drill. That won’t be happening on their watch.

What Sketch has allowed me to do in the (nearly) 2 years I have been using it, is to to get back to being more focused than I have been for a long time on something I enjoy doing each, and every day. We’re lucky folks. We create stuff (that’s a technical term right there) for a living. How cool is that. We put our thoughts, and our creations on the web for people to digest, and enjoy (or slate). It’s a great role to have each working day. Sketch enables this. And if that’s not enough for your design mojo, I don’t know what is.

I’m working on an awesome Guide for Sketch…

Book cover for The Sketch App Design Handbook

I’m currently working on a Guide for Sketch ‘The Sketch App Design Handbook’. Join the Mailing list here to be kept informed on it’s progress, and for further information.

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